The prince crouches behind a merlon on the battlement observing the carnage, silent, afraid to move forward. He peers through a crenel and watches the dragon slayer pull arrow after arrow out of her quiver as she selflessly defends the castle. Knights stand on either side of him protecting the asset: the person who—in spite of the crown—exercises no power when life gets challenging.
Have you ever felt like you’ve taken on the role of knight in shining armor—always vigilant, always watching out for someone else?
Have you been the dragon slayer—battling the demons that threaten to devour those you love? (I’m not talking about those who, because of age or physical, mental or emotional issues, will always need care.)
Have you ever been the prince—hiding, sequestered in your safe place?
What does your castle look like? Is it high on a hill, with the best vantage point possible to “keep watch”? Is the drawbridge over your moat raised, so that anyone who tries to reach you has to make it through murky water so deep that they would likely drown just trying to get there?
The dragon slayer takes a breath and then gets ready for the next onslaught. She’s firm in her commitment to stay the course. Giving up is not an option, so she channels all her energy in order to stay strong.
Sadly, when you’re always slaying someone else’s dragons or protecting “the prince”, you die (not usually literally, but there are many kinds of “death”). You haven’t taken the time to figure out what you need—to watch out for yourself; to fling open the gates to safety.
When you allow (or expect) others to take on your “arrows” of life, you sacrifice not only those you love, but you lose yourself. You make yourself really small, trying to hide behind the parapet because you’re afraid to stand tall and fight for who you are. At points in your life, you may truly need someone who’s outside “the castle of your world” to help slay the dragons that threaten to destroy you. But, that shouldn’t be your regular reality.
You can only stave off the dragons for so long. The modern world may say that they don’t exist but they do. They’re not the legendary creatures of myths, and their fire may not be able to completely consume you, but the dragons of your life can burn you. They can demand that you flee and hide. But, when you live in a fortress of your own making, where you’re locked away, protected by defense systems that make you a prisoner in your own life, you’ve given up.
Food For Thought:
When are you pulling the drawbridge up and securing the castle doors, hiding behind your carefully guarded gates, instead of venturing out into your life?
Who do you have fighting your battles, warding off impending danger, protecting you over and over while you sit afraid, unwilling to do the work to be able to live freely?
If you’re the dragon slayer always protecting others and making sure they’re safe and out of harm’s way, are you aware of how vulnerable you are?
Are you encouraging them, and empowering them, to fight their own battles?
Mostly, I think, I’ve been the dragon slayer. I’m okay being outside, protecting what’s precious to me, with the portcullis down, and the drawbridge coming up. I do that even though I know that I won’t always make it back inside the safety of the castle gates.
I’m afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of violence. I’m afraid of losing those I love too soon. But I’m not afraid of dragon slaying. I know that God—the ultimate dragon slayer— is with me always. I know that God has my back.
castle- your world
battlement- the place you run to (section on the top of a castle with)
crenel- where you get small and only peek at reality (the gaps on the battlement)
curtain wall- where you’re closer to the action, but still out of harm’s way (the stone wall around the castle)
dragons- the scary, painful stuff of life
drawbridge- what you raise and lower depending on how “safe” you feel (the bridge leading to the main castle gate)
keep- your strongest place of defense (top of the tower)
merlon- what you hide behind when you’re afraid (the raised parts on the battlement)
moat- challenges you make people go through, to reach you (the water surrounding the castle that stops attackers from tunneling into it)
portcullis- the gate you open before you let others through the main door into your world (the outer—almost impenetrable—metal gate)
quiver- where you keep the words or actions that can defend those you love or destroy others (container for holding arrows)